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gross incompetence

Mike Pence: Terrible human being, worse cartoonist

Detail of one of Mike Pence's Law School Daze comics from the 1980s
Detail of one of Mike Pence’s Law School Daze comics from the 1980s. Yes, he misspelled “bummed.”

So our terrible Vice President Elect drew cartoons — terrible cartoons — back when he was in law school in the 80s. Esquire has posted a bunch of them, and holy crap they are bad. The art is sloppy and derivative and awful. The jokes, such as they are, are worse.

And seriously, it should be illegal to draw cartoon eyes like this:

penceeyes

Esquire discovered and posted the cartoons back in August. I can’t believe they didn’t get more attention at the time — I only just learned of them. Even setting aside his other failings, these cartoons really should disqualify Pence from holding any public office.

I mean, sure, I also drew some pretty dumb and possibly not-that-funny comics when I was in college. But trust me, they weren’t this annoying.

H/T — Scildfreja Unnýðnes, for bringing the Esquire piece to my attention.

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calmdown
calmdown
3 years ago

One of the functions of this blog is humor, and I get a kick out of bad comics and think they are hilarious. Just because we take a post to mock something silly doesn’t mean we don’t care about the bigger issues.

If your just really angry about what’s happening that’s understandable, but this is not what tapping out looks like. Nobody here is giving this guy a pass.

History Nerd
History Nerd
3 years ago

The GOP tends to nominate a stronger social conservative as VP to attract religious voters. The presidential candidate can’t be too socially conservative or he’ll alienate independent voters.

Social issues can get a little complicated. Some studies show that the majority of people support gay marriage but favor stronger restrictions on abortion than what Roe v. Wade allows, for example.

Moocow
3 years ago

Of all things, art can and should be criticized. And I think everyone knows exactly why Pence is a despicable human being.

Pence’s art reminds me of the crap I read about on “Your webcomic is bad and you should feel bad”

(((VioletBeauregarde))): Crooked Nasty Social Justice Necromancer
(((VioletBeauregarde))): Crooked Nasty Social Justice Necromancer
3 years ago

Pence, honey, don’t quit your day job…or do, but don’t become a cartoonist!

Nidi
Nidi
3 years ago

I’ll poke fun at Bruce Tinsley or Rob Liefeld because they’re worthwhile targets of artistic criticism.

I’m not angry about criticism of Pence’s art. It just isn’t interesting and I don’t believe it warrants discussion.

It’s bad art and writing. But not bad in any extraordinary or meaningful way, so deconstructing it yields very little amusement or edification. It’s not directly indicative of his terrible politics or beliefs in the present, so it can’t be used to argue against him as VP-elect.

Yeah, Mike Pence is a horrible human being, and he deserves no sympathy. But these drawings are neither here nor there when it comes to that.

I’ll poke fun at Bruce Tinsley or Rob Liefeld because they’re worthwhile targets of artistic criticism.

kupo
kupo
3 years ago

@Nidi

I’m not angry about criticism of Pence’s art. It just isn’t interesting and I don’t believe it warrants discussion.

Then don’t discuss it? I don’t get why this is something that people feel the need to tell David not to post about on his blog.

Nidi
Nidi
3 years ago

Bah, editing goof. That’s what I get for posting from a phone.

Aunt Podger
Aunt Podger
3 years ago

This fellow wants control of whom I marry, worship, and give birth to, and IIRC if a fetus dies in my body, he wants to leave it there. I feel comfortable pointing out any and all shortcomings he has.

Nidi
Nidi
3 years ago

@kupo

I’m not discussing Pence’s art. I’m discussing why I’m not interested in discussing Pence’s art.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

Usually if I’m not interested in the topic of a post I just don’t read it. I’ve never understood why people read things they aren’t interested in reading about just say they can say they aren’t interested.

I guess I’m just silly like that.

Handsome "Punkle Stan" Jack

I hope Mike Pence held a funeral for his aborted comics career.

comment image

Okay, the guy saying “No” is traced from another old comic and it’s driving me up the wall that I can’t place which one. Argh.

Ah, so not only did he draw shit comics, he’s a plagiarist to boot.

It’s probably traced from Garfield or something banal like that.

Pence, honey, don’t quit your day job…or do, but don’t become a cartoonist!

Hey, that’s my joke!

Well, I made it first in this thread, so there!

Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent
Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent
3 years ago

@Jack

Copying from people who’ve spewed the same things before…a familiar theme here.

Though now I’m reminded of Garfield Minus Garfield and Square Root of Minus Garfield.

dustwolves
dustwolves
3 years ago

I don’t know. My instinctive reaction when seeing these cartoons wasn’t “wow what an awful person Pence is”, but rather “wow poor guy, being untalented sucks – believe me I know”. It humanized him for me in a way that nothing I’ve read about him so far has, and that shook me a bit tbh. Otoh, there’s been so much awfulness lately I guess we could use some lighter material for a change.

Anyway, how about them approval ratings?

epitome of incomprehensibility

Like @Nidi, I didn’t find the cartoon awful, just… boring.

@Imaginary Petal said it best:

It’s just incredibly bland and pointless.

However! I can beat Pence at this game! The cartoons that I drew in college had TRULY terrible jokes!

This was one that somehow made it into the student paper: a grumpy right-wing guy says to a friend: “This school has a political bias. There’s no Conservative Arts!”

And in the background there was a picture on the wall labeled The Vitruvian Stickman (like da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, but a stickman).

So… not my proudest moment. Thus, if anybody is uncomfortable making fun of poor old Pence, you can make fun of me instead. 😛

Zatar
Zatar
3 years ago

no Conservative Arts!”

It probably says bad things about me that I genuinely chuckled when I read that.

Kootiepatra
3 years ago

I know if I found out that my old art (including comics!) had been posted on the internet, I’d cringe pretty hard about it–but I also wouldn’t argue with anyone that yep, it was indeed bad, and omg I thought I was so clever at the time what was wrong with me. And if it was something that I had published publicly in the first place–it’s not like someone broke into my house and stole my sketchbook–then it is what it is and I’ve just gotta deal.

If Pence can roll with getting booed in a theater, I’ma guess he can deal with people calling his bad comic strips bad.

[Ed: and yes, of course there are more significant things about this whole travesty of an administration to be criticizing, but egads it’s nice to come up for air now and again]

Ddog
Ddog
3 years ago

Meh no worse than the college comic strips that where floating around when I was in college TBH. If I didn’t know who drew them I wouldn’t say they where awful or amazing just meh. (TBH I wouldn’t even remember them)

Since I do know the creator is a homophobic piece of excrement though I will laugh at them 😊

I drew terrible comics in school. The hero was a anthromorphic piece of butter who wore a cape called Round Butter. The name came from our terrible science teacher who, while describing a sphere and looking for examples of spherical objects, for some unfathomable reason suggested round butter.

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
3 years ago

Nidi sez:

Maybe it’s just me being an artist, but I’m reticent to make fun of someone else’s 30 year-old work, even Pence’s.

I used to fancy myself an artist. Before I moved to Japan a few years ago, I went through all the 20-(ish)-year-old stuff I drew in high school and during my first attempt at college. I was never what one would call great. My stuff all was hideous at worst or had plenty of technical flaws at best, and I knew that, even at the time.

However, I had worked hard to make things interesting and put a lot of progressive and subversive ideas into most of what I created. So when I was reducing the whole collection to a couple sketchbooks’ worth of materials, there was quite a lot that I was still proud of and happy to preserve. It’s a record of who I was and what I cared about.

I haven’t seriously drawn in a long time, but I do use my quasi-atrophied art skills for designing classroom activities, making English posters, and creating the odd object to use in the classroom.* The better stuff looks, the more my students are interested in it and, by extension, in what I teach. And the more clear stuff is, the more easily they learn. There’s great value in being able to get people intrigued and communicate information through art. But it’s hard to do well because you have to see things from a variety of perspectives.

Pence’s old art is also a record of who he was. And nothing in his garbage cartoons shows any understanding of the difficulty of using art effectively. His stuff is lazy, boring, and derivative—like he’s never imagined anyone other than himself looking at it. I think it’s reasonable to point that out and demand to know how much he has really changed. Because most of the skills it takes to make good art are also integral to making good government.
………
* The best so far is the box of matches I made for a camping-gear-based unit to more concretely illustrate the difference between singular and plural. There are always several kids who get super disappointed when they find out it’s all fake.

Rhuu
Rhuu
3 years ago

I am also not quite understanding the criticism this post has received. We do make fun of terrible memes and terribly photoshopped things fairly regularily. Is this different because it is drawn, and we know who drew it?

I will say that these are horrible, unfunny comics. They are basically terrible.

And here is why i will say that: he published them. No one tore these out of his sketchbook, and it wasn’t like he shared them with a friend who then published them, he published them himself.

Granted, he didn’t expect the internet and for them to come out when he was running for vp, but he still put his art out there.

And one thing that artists need to understand is that once it is out there, you don’t control people’s reaction to it. All you can do is hope you’ve communicated your intended message clearly enough so that the audience understands what you were trying to get across.

He did not. His intent was humour, these fell flat. Perhaps if i was the intended audience, but we have a member of the intended audience here who says they still fall flat so…

I would not, however, say that he is a terrible person based on these. He is, based on other things that he has done. Perhaps that is the conflict? These aren’t illustrating his shitty views, so it feels off topic to make fun of them, and this is not usually a site that makes fun of beginner art.

But it does make fun of shitty people, so i’d say this is fair game.

(I have been through more years of art school than i really should have, and am currently making my living by drawing. If i needed to establish any credential, idk.)

Pie
Pie
3 years ago

@JSun

This is the same kind of argument schoolyard bullies use to attack their victims. It’s not something that I’ve come to expect of this blog.

Funny thing about bullies; they operate from a position of strength. Neither you, nor I, nor this blog can bully Pence, because he’s the fucking vice president (though I suspect grand vizier is a more appropriate title, all things considered) and sits right up there at the top of the food chain.

PreuxFox
PreuxFox
3 years ago

I am less concerned about how Pence would feel about this post and more concerned about young artists who see it and think ‘well…my stuff’s not any better…’

To me, it falls under a similar purview to insulting how Trump looks. There’s always going to be splash damage that you didn’t anticipate.

To any young artists who are viewing this post and feeling discouraged: my art was not great in college. Especially cartooning – it’s an extremely difficult style to master. I do some freelancing graphic design and art work now, and people like my stuff. You don’t have to worry about anybody else’s opinion, just keep at it and you will always continue to improve.

Falconer
Falconer
3 years ago

Okay, the guy saying “No” is traced from another old comic and it’s driving me up the wall that I can’t place which one. Argh.

Ah, so not only did he draw shit comics, he’s a plagiarist to boot.

It’s probably traced from Garfield or something banal like that.

The eyes in Garfield tend to be a single curve. The eyes on Pence’s drawing are pinched in at the top.

I know I’ve seen that face somewhere before, though.

D. D. Webb
3 years ago

Perhaps I failed to express myself clearly, which is a thing I have done enough times in the past to find the idea unsurprising.

I wasn’t attacking Mr. Futrelle, or the blog, or anything. I guess I’m just worried about the signs of the very real rise of fascism all around me, and was a little put off at finding a piece of seemingly irrelevant minutia on one of my sources for news and insight on that.

However, in retrospect, a good chunk of that was my own state talking. This is, after all (as was pointed out to me above), a blog that has mockery as its central point.

Not my blog, not my call. I still appreciate all the work you do, Mr. Futrelle.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
3 years ago

It’s okay @D.D. Webb! That sounds like you needed something serious and investigative, and the top of the stack had something light and frivolous. Don’t worry about it 🙂

Mattie
Mattie
3 years ago

I have to say…if these weren’t written by Mike Pence but some kid on Tumblr, I would find at least some of them…kind of quaint-ish?

Vaguely approaching humor or irony?

Also, if they were better proofread.

Kat
Kat
3 years ago

@D. D. Webb

Perhaps I failed to express myself clearly, which is a thing I have done enough times in the past to find the idea unsurprising.

On the Interwebz, it’s dishearteningly easy to write something that means the opposite of what you intended.

Not to worry about David’s choice of subject. He’ll be discussing the fascists in grim detail very soon.

LittleLurker
LittleLurker
3 years ago

As a survivor of bullying and abuse, this place triggers me like hell some days. Just saying.

That said: David can post whatever he likes and commenters can criticize it. That’s normally how it is done here, isn’t it? Then others criticize the criticism. Nothing wrong with that.

But can we not tell people who voice their concerns: “What is wrong with you?” I mean, tell them why it’s unfounded. But don’t imply: “What kind of freak are you to even worry about that?”

Funny thing about bullies; they operate from a position of strength. Neither you, nor I, nor this blog can bully Pence, because he’s the fucking vice president (though I suspect grand vizier is a more appropriate title, all things considered) and sits right up there at the top of the food chain.

In this case, yes. Otherwise oversimplified. Someone can be in a position of weakness and even themselves a victim in one context and be a bully in others. For example, someone who treated me like shit when I was a little girl (not in school, it was an adult) kept going on and on about his hard life. And I was told by others to understand him, because of all he had suffered… I don’t give a shit. I don’t give a shit how bad you have it, you get to act shitty towards me when I personally give you a reason, because I’m not anyone’s fucking punching bag. If that is a “tone argument”, I’ll stand by it. I’ll protect myself from certain “tones” for the rest of my life.

LittleLurker
LittleLurker
3 years ago

Right, apologies and delete the last one if you want. You can do whatever you think best obviously, I’m just going to stay away.

Thank you for the thoughtful, interesting discussions.

Kat
Kat
3 years ago

@LittleLurker

As a survivor of bullying and abuse, this place triggers me like hell some days. Just saying.

Completely understandable.

And when it comes to others treating you badly, you’ve got to defend yourself, however you define that.

I hope you stay. Or return. But only if that works for you.

Take good care of yourself.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

I looked back at the thread and no one said “what is wrong with you?” and nobody called anyone a freak. In fact I looked back at the whole thing because freak as an insult didn’t sound like anyone here. I’m sorry you were triggered, but if you’re going to imply that we are bullies, at least do it on the basis of something we actually said.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
3 years ago

What WWTH said. Don’t accuse people of things they didn’t do.

Kettle
Kettle
3 years ago

why is this news

Zatar
Zatar
3 years ago

Kettle: Its not? This isn’t a news site.

(((VioletBeauregarde))): Crooked Nasty Social Justice Necromancer
(((VioletBeauregarde))): Crooked Nasty Social Justice Necromancer
3 years ago

@Jack: Sorry, I just didn’t bother checking. I was too lazy that day.